University for the Creative Arts Film & Media Centre, Farnham
Pascall+Watson continues its upward trajectory after adding another 10 architects over 2018. Architectural fee income from its UK offices rose by 25 per cent to £18.9 million. The practice’s resilience has been helped by its strength in long-term infrastructure work, which has proved less vulnerable to the negative impact of Brexit uncertainty.
‘We’ve had a pretty good year,’ says managing director Steve West. ‘Most of our income has been generated through transport projects – air and rail – with the majority of this within the UK and Ireland. ‘On the big infrastructure projects we do, the work needs to keep happening, Brexit or no Brexit.’
The practice is working at all major UK airports, with key projects including a £500 million masterplan for the expansion of Birmingham Airport, designed to increase capacity by 40 per cent by 2033. Last year it completed the £7.7 million Stansted Airport College, the UK’s first specialist college for airport personnel, which is located at the airport. This project overlaps with the practice’s other main specialism of education, with recent higher education completions including a Film and Media Centre for the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham. The practice also last year secured its first secondary school design project.
Workload declined in the Middle East, where Pascall+Watson has an office in Abu Dhabi, although the practice is still active on major leisure projects, including the Reem Snow Park in Abu Dhabi, and is also on the framework for projects at the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum.
Looking ahead, while West is not anticipating either significant growth or downturn in 2019, the practice is planning for strategic growth over the next three years either through regional diversification or sector growth. It is pitching for a number of major transport projects in Australia, where it has not worked previously.